Number 1 bestseller in The Times
Shortlisted for the Bollinger Prize for Comic Fiction
‘Moving, funny and the most satisfying of reads, Old Baggage is a delight from start to finish.’ The Independent
‘This beautifully written story teems with atmosphere and perfect period detail but it’s the brave and brilliant Mattie that makes it unforgettable’ Sunday Mirror
‘Old Baggage is a gloriously entertaining and deeply moving novel about what courageous women do when society does not afford them a role’ Sunday Express
It is 1928. Matilda Simpkin, rooting through a cupboard, comes across a small wooden club – an old possession of hers, unseen for more than a decade.
Mattie is a woman with a thrilling past and a chafingly uneventful present. During the Women’s Suffrage Campaign she was a militant. Jailed five times, she marched, sang, gave speeches, smashed windows and heckled Winston Churchill, and nothing – nothing – since then has had the same depth, the same excitement.
Now in middle age, she is still looking for a fresh mould into which to pour her energies. Giving the wooden club a thoughtful twirl, she is struck by an idea – but what starts as a brilliantly idealistic plan is derailed by a connection with Mattie’s militant past, one which begins to threaten every principle that she stands for.
Old Baggage is a funny and bittersweet portrait of a woman who has never, never given up the fight.
(Mattie’s story continues in ‘Crooked Heart’)
‘Great novels should contain great writing and great plots – but most of all, it describes great characters that cannot be contained. Mr Pickwick, Falstaff, Emma, Sherlock Holmes, Isobel Archer, Jeeves – these are what make fiction shine. A new star has been added to this constellation, and her name is Mattie Simpkin.’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Utterly wonderful and intelligent’ India Knight, Sunday Times Magazine
‘A timely, bittersweet comic novel’ Guardian